After being on hold for nearly seven months, a new travel center and restaurant complex planned in Good Hope has been given the green light to move forward.

The project has been in the works for nearly a year according to Good Hope mayor Corey Harbison, but signalization approval from the Alabama Department of Transportation has held up the process.

"This is the beginning of many projects we hope to see over the next few years," Harbison said. "People are going to start seeing revenue, jobs and the cleaning up of several eye sores in our community. This is our biggest investment so far."

Officials with the travel center and restaurant applied to the city in November for a permit to develop the property after purchasing the 15-acre tract that sits on the site of the long-closed Holiday Inn, just east of I-65 on Alabama Highway 69. Once finished, the property will house a new Wilco-Hess travel center, a convenience store and fueling complex which will include a Dunkin Donuts and a Wendy's restaurant.

"I think any growth in Good Hope is good," council member Jerry Bartlett said. "Anything that will improve the looks of the city and will supply a need is a positive. Hardee's has been here a long time, and it's just exciting to give people a new place to eat."

Harbison said he was informed by a Wilco-Hess representative that the project will bring in roughly 60-70 full-time jobs, and around 40 part-time jobs.

"This is going to be a major boost for this community and this whole area as far as job creation and revenue are concerned."

If all goes as planned, Harbison anticipates ground being broken within the next three weeks.

Ashley Graves can be reached by phone at 734-2131, ext. 135, or by email at agraves@cullmantimes.com

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